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MG TD TF 1500 - For the pilots+others!

Don't mean to get away from the concept of this site, but knowing we have some fellas and gals who are pilots in the general aviation field, I think this is a message that needs promoting. This was a low time student pilot with more than likely tunnel vision at the time, but could happen to an experienced pilot who gets a little too complacent! NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! PJ

Open site, scroll down on right.
Paul sr

Appears to me that the SUV ran a stop sign and crossed the runway approach into the path of the plane. Not sure if the student pilot could have even pulled up in time even if he saw the SUV.
Dallas Congleton

Hindsight is always 20/20, but foresight isn't always so. I always taught my students to never make a shallow approach. Even though the SUV might have been at fault, a higher approach more than likely would have prevented this situation and especially knowing a rise in ground elevation was close to the end of the long runway. Thank goodness no one was injured. JMHO. PJ
Paul sr

I was a flight instructor for 3 years back in the day and never have I ever seen a road that close to a runway! It must have been an airport using airport transfers tunbridge wells maintenance road of some sort and, if so, the driver is at fault!
Back to the garage,
efh Haskell

Our normal approach is almost always 3 degrees, as most glideslope or VNAV approach paths are set as such. We cross the threshold at 50' giving a touchdown approximately 1000' past the threshold. Light planes at small airports sometimes don't have that luxury so as PJ says, a steeper approach increases the visibility while still allowing a touchdown near the numbers.

We hold a Letter of Authorization for special instrument approaches at Aspen, CO. One of the approaches has an approach angle of 6.22 degrees. The one-way runway has an up-slope of 2 degrees so it looks even steeper.

As a student pilot you're, or at least I was, running near overload. On my first cross country flight I made a long power-off approach to the 1700' runway. I belatedly realized I was low and firewalled the throttle. The engine responded with a burp and I started to settle in the trees just as the engine came alive. I landed, rolled to the end, got out and pulled the twigs out of the landing gear. Smoked a cigarette while looking for damage and finding none, decided to get back on the horse and shot a few landings.

The lessons best learned, at least for me, are the ones where I got away with something stupid! That was 43 years ago and my last collision but not last lesson.
J E Carroll

I'm not a pilot, but it looks like an accident waiting to happen to me. I've seen several mountain strips not that far from me that are one way in and one way out. When you make up your mind to land, you will land..either on the short runway or in the face of the mountain wall. Not Alaska I suppose but always raises the hair on the back of my neck when I see em come in.
Sardi Field ..or whatever the hell they call these days always used to give me a charge when I was driving up there before they turned the highway into a 4 lane express. The jets were right on top of you when they came in. Many years ago one came in short...and the bits flew right on across the highway.
L E D LaVerne

Great story. Unfortunately in life you can only do so many things. I always wanted to learn to fly,but I also like my British cars, my wood working, and my somewhat extensive gun collection. While working and raising a family, there is only so much time and so much money available for what you can do for enjoyment. If I was given a "do over" learning to fly would be very high on my list.
Bob McLeod TD 5618

It's still Sardi field. The runway was recently extended to 8000'. Operations are safe provided you take steps to mitigate the risks.

We developed operations procedures and train to use the special approaches that have lower minimums that those available to the general public. Part of that is a balked landing procedure that will allow us to actually go around from 50' even with one engine inoperative. Using three-engine aircraft allows great flexibility. Loosing one engine in a twin means you loose half your power and two thirds of your performance. Loosing one out of three nets a loss of one third of the power and only half of the performance, roughly.

We can land at Aspen with enough fuel to go around at 50' and fly several hours thereafter. High power twin jets can do it with a descent alternate and reserves.

There was a fatal crash about 10 years ago. In that charter flight the crew was totally unprepared for the changeable weather, had fuel concerns, were being pressured by the lead passenger, and pressured by the onset of darkness.

The flight of party goers showed up hours late for the flight. The crew knew they would have to begin their approach before sunset. As they began their approach the weather deteriorated rapidly. Expecting just a cloud break exercise they never properly briefed the approach. The high minimums of the public-use approach necessitated a steep approach from minimums. They departed minimums even though they did not have the airport in sight and descended with full flaps AND speed brakes deployed, a no-no in the type. Still not seeing the runway in sight the captain pulled the throttles from flight idle to ground idle to increase the descent rate, another no-no. When they finally spotted the terrain they had sealed their fate and could not arrest the descent and crashed short and to the right of the runway, right beside highway 82.

Sadly the cockpit voice recorder captures the concerns of the crew and the fact they knew they should divert to Rifle. They pressed on anyway.
J E Carroll

Sounds like you know the area well J E. Thought maybe they changed the name because it happened here to Walker Field (Now Grand Junction Regional Airport)after the jackass that used to run Aspen took over here. Endless money pit for the public with no end in site. I did some work for a fellow that was instrumental in getting the instrument landing equipment set up here in the mountain airports. Gordon Autry... ever hear of him? Sold his airline company to another jackass...Frank Larenzo. Sadly passed away a couple of years ago. Nice fellow.
L E D LaVerne

Don't know Gordon Autry but being an Eastern Airlines Alumnus, I'm familiar with the name Larenzo.

Although I live in NH I'm often in Aspen or Rifle staying in Glenwood Springs. I just missed this year's event.
J E Carroll

If you look closely to the aircraft's approach over the fence, the physical fence, it looks like he is no more than 6 or 7 foot above it, entirely too close! I agree the SUV driver had blinders on and in plain English did a stupid thing, but the lads flight instructor isn't exempt from wrong doing by not teaching this lad the proper approach techniques. Even in an FAA approved aerobatic event, which is the only ones we enter, it's illegal to fly that close to a fixed object, meaning a fence, a pole, a building and most of all, people. Were talking experienced high time aerobatic pilots, not a student with only a couple hours in an aircraft. Thank goodness the lad and SUV driver walked away from a death defying experience. Another foot lower and the results would not have been the same.
Just to show I'm not blowing smoke and have been flying for 53 years, here I am in my first aircraft in 1965. My 41 Stearman, Betsy. Yup, flew that old 25 back there a few times also. Ah, those were the days. PJ

Paul sr

Here's a little read on Gordon Autry, J E. You might find it interesting.
L E D LaVerne


Nice Stearman! 220 Continental? Local Delta Captain had a Lycoming powered one. I've seen more Contis and R985 Pratts.

Was the B25 in Catch 22? Seems lots were.

J E Carroll


Thanks for the link; It was an interesting read.

I remember the -7s and Twin Otters flying out of Avon and I wondered what became of them and the airport. I imagine the field is a golf course or shopping mall now.

I also wonder what ever happened to the -7s. I don't see any around anymore, even in third world countries. Maybe the 4 engines made them too expensive to operate with today's fuel prices. They sure could get off quick!

The Twin Otters will be like DC3s and go on forever. There's a company who bought the rights and tooling and put it back in production.

J E Carroll

The Civilian DC-7s or military C-74 Globmasters had 4 3350s with fuel lines as big as the grip on a baseball bat! With 18 cylinders each, they drank a lot of fuel. At $7.00+ a gallon, no one could afford to fly them. DC-3s are even being converted to use turbo prop engines to increase power and cut fuel costs, which today controls just about everything.
Paul sr

Have to agree with Lavern. Who puts a vehicle road at the beginning of a landing strip?

One of the more interesting road signs is outside of the town of Plover Wisconsin on the side of a 4 lane freeway (65 mph). Fields on either side. Sign warns drivers to watch for low flying aircraft (I am assuming crop dusters as there is not airport close).

I always wondered what I am supposed to do if I see a low flying aircraft? Slam on the brakes on the freeway?
Bruce Cunha

Jim, My Stearman was the 225 Lycoming Navy version. Lycomings had the collector ring on the front and Continentals had theirs on the back.

The 25 was owned by the Philco corporation and was pretty plush on the inside. It might have been in a couple films but I don't know for sure. Seems logical though, seeing who it belonged to at the time. We used to take it up on a check ride for a couple hrs every time Philco was going to fly it later in the day. Reason, it set sometimes for weeks and we were instructed to fire it up, warm up the engines, shut them down once a week, test fly it if they were going to use it. Other than a C-125 it was the nosiest damn thing I've ever sat in, especially with the blade tips only a couple feet from your ears! The cockpit was still uninsulated as original. PJ
Paul sr

This thread was discussed between 23/02/2013 and 26/02/2013

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